University of Minnesota

North American Monarch Institute (NAMI)

The Monarch Flyway Network, formed from participants in the North American Monarch Institute, is a partnership between the US Forest Service International Programs and the Monarchs in the Classroom program; with the Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota, the Cockrell Butterfly Center in Houston, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago, and the Monarch Joint Venture. It brings together teachers, non-formal science educators, and scientists to study monarchs and build lasting collaborations along the monarchs’ migration flyway route to Mexico.

A key goal of the Monarch Flyway Network is to promote a standards- and inquiry-based approach to science, by encouraging and supporting ongoing engagement in conservation and research activities. Network members study monarch biology and ecology, engage in citizen monitoring programs (the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, Monarch Watch, Journey North, and Monarch Health), study the plants and animals with which monarchs interact in the wild, and create schoolyard habitats to support monarchs and other pollinators. These activities are supported during an intensive summer workshop, followed by ongoing communication and networking.

NAMI Connection Newsletters

To read NAMI Connection Newsletters, visit our Resources Page under the "North American Monarch Institute Newsletters" category. All NAMI workshop participants are automatically signed up to receive these udpates. 

NAMI After 5 Years

Educators in St. Paul, MN making observations inside the monarch tent during NAMI 2015. (Photo: Mike Rizo)

In its first five years, the North American Monarch Institute was an effective collaboration between the US Forest Service and the University of Minnesota to promote monarch education and monarch conservation practices. Over five years, 487 teachers completed the 3 day intensive training and 128 school gardens have been planted to provide habitat for monarchs and for students to conduct outdoor observations and investigations. These monarch habitats and experts are located across the United States.

North American Monarch Institutes have now been held in six different cities across the nation. Communities of educators in St. Paul, MN, Chicago, IL, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA, Milwaukee, WI, and Denver, CO engaged in rigorous lessons and activities that promoted better understanding of science skills, monarch biology, citizen science, and schoolyard ecology. The reach of the NAMI trainings extends to hundreds of school-aged students, nature center visitors, and museum and zoo attendees. Bolstering the Monarch Flyway Network with experienced educators will ensure that NAMI concepts will continue to empower students and communities to engage in monarch education and conservation. 

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